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Bulla pear & A likely pair
published: Thursday | September 25, 2003

By Grace Cameron, Lifestyle Editor

CALL HIM a snob, but Alan Logan knows just how he likes his bullas: Rich and dark with the flavour and colour of thick, sweet molasses.

The retired company director became a bulla aficionado back in the early '40s while attending Jamaica College (JC) on Hope Road in St. Andrew. A smile plays over his face as he recalls the variety made by Huntington Bakery. "It had plenty of molasses. It was sweet, dark and round ­ not too hard and not too soft."

There was also a lighter-hued bulla that "we called Mess Around," says Logan. That was also sweet, but without the smoky, seductive taste of the one fortified with molasses.

Besides Huntington (located in Cross Roads) the Corporate Area had two other bulla bakeries in the 1940s ­ Powell's in Half-Way Tree and Valentine's in downtown Kingston. The three were merged in the late '40s/early '50s to become Consolidated Bakery, which has since become Purity Bakery on Red Hills Road in Kingston.

There was also a bulla shop across from St. George's College on North Street, Kingston, which catered to the boys across the road who also fancied themselves bulla connoisseurs. Logan sniffs at the thought. Clearly, in his opinion, the JC crew was the true expert back in the day.

BULLA TAKES A DIVE

In and around 1943 bulla cakes cost about a penny each, remembers Logan. Back then they were served in "a piece of white shop paper, just enough for you to hold the bulla in and eat."

The bite went out of the bulla business in the 1950s, reckons Logan, who shed his bulla-loving ways along with his uniform on graduation.

On Monday Food introduced the Kingston retiree to a modern day version of the bulla for his reaction. This one, made by Best Taste Pastries on Seward Drive, St. Andrew, came in a plastic bag of five at a price of $70.

He bit, wrinkled his face and exclaimed: "This is a different animal altogether. The earlier ones were darker, they had more molasses."

Still, he added in a backhanded concession to the present, "this one isn't bad. It's ok but it's not as I remembered. This one has more ginger."

THE PAIRING WITH PEAR

As for the twinning of bulla and pear. "Yes, that's a good one."

To eat it the proper Jamaican way, he instructs, you need to hold the bulla in one hand and the pear in the other. You first bite one and then the other.

Logan adds that his fondest recollection of pear season took place on his uncle's farm during the summer in Clarendon when all the cats, "aka puss", would be missing in action. "They would all be gathered at the foot of the pear trees."

Beyond puss and pear, he makes this parting shot with a chuckle: "Remember to put salt on the pear to avoid accidents."

PEAR GOODNESS

Rich and creamy avocados are quite versatile. Pair them with bulla or

hardough bread, dice them into salads, stuff them with fillings, mash them to make guacamole or sandwich spreads. Or peel and eat it just like that.

Their only big drawback is the high calorie and fat count, although the fat is mostly monounsaturated ­ the good kind (believed by some scientists to protect against heart disease and certain kinds of cancer). Avocados are a cholesterol-free, sodium-free, low saturated fat food with only 5 grams of fat per serving.

Further, avocados are "nutrient dense" in that they supply more of your daily nutrient requirements for fewer calories spent. They are dense in potassium, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin and vitamin B6. Total Fat 8 per cent Saturated Fat 5 per cent Saturated Fat 1g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounstaurated Fat 3g Cholesterol 0mg 0 per cent Potassium 170mg 0 per cent Total Carbohydrate 3g 1 per cent Protein 1g.

FEND OFF BAD MENSTRUAL MOODS

Too little vitamin B6 can lead to moodiness and fatigue, according to research in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. And during menstruation, extra estrogen in the bloodstream can weaken the body's ability to absorb this mood-taming nutrient. That's why researchers recommend filling up on natural sources of B6, including avocados, bananas and tuna, especially during the that time of the month.

- Source: First for Women, September 1, 2003

SUCCESS TIPS

Since they bruise easily, grocers usually expect customers to buy them while they're still hard and unripe, then take them home to ripen at room temperature for a few days.

If you like, you can speed things up by putting them in a paper bag along with an apple or banana.

They're ripe when they yield to a gentle squeeze.

To open, just cut them in half lengthwise around the seed and twist the two halves apart, then pop the seed out with a spoon or knife.

They darken soon after being cut, so serve them right away or sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice to slow the discoloration.

Don't refrigerate, freeze, or cook avocados to prevent getting the runs, advises one seasoned pear eater.

Lightly sprinkle pear with salt.

PEAR VARIETIES

Avocado = alligator pear = midshipman's butter or just plain old pear in Jamaica.

BACON AVOCADO

This sweet, smooth-skinned variety shows up in the middle of winter. It's not as flavourful as other avocados.

Cocktail avocado or avocadito. This is a very small
variety.

Fuerte avocado (Florida avocado). This is in season from late fall through spring. It's not quite as buttery as the Hass avocado, but its flavour is excellent.

Hass avocado (California) has a rich flavour and creamy texture. The skin turns almost black when the avocado is ripe, which can camouflage bad bruises. This is the best variety by far for guacamole, but it turns a bit mushy in salads.

Mexican avocado. With their small size and shiny black skins, these look like elongated plums. You can eat them, skin and all.

Pinkerton avocado. These peel easily and their flavour is excellent. One of the best varieties.

Reed avocado. This large, roundish avocado slips easily from the peel, and has excellent flavour and texture. It will stay firm even when ripe, so it's not a good choice if you're making guacamole.

http://www.foodsubs.com/ Avocados.html

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